Monday, May 19, 2008

Water(man) World! Another Disaster in the Making?

Republican State Senator John Waterman from Sullivan County is talking about running for Governor as an independent because Southwestern Indiana is getting the shaft from the Governor’s Office.

To quote Shreck, “Join the club. We’ve got T-shirts.” The whole state is getting the shaft from the Governor’s Office, Senator.

Waterman told Brian Howey (great scoop, Howey Politics!) that the Governor’s Office won’t return calls (by which I’m sure he mostly means calls he made).

Normally, I’d write this off to a political figure having a public tantrum for a private reward when he's not going to bust a grape in a fruit fight. Because Senator Waterman has made these overtures, one might expect an emissary from the Governor’s Office, maybe even the Governor himself, to play footsy with Waterman now to calm him down.

But maybe this notion of running as an independent is not so insane.

Hear me out. Howey reports that one Republican county chair in Southwest Indiana believes Jill Long-Thompson will carry some 8th District counties by 2-1 or 3-1. That’s seriously bad news for Daniels because, if true (probably isn't an accurate prediction), it speaks to a substantial “protest vote.”

Remember how IPOPA posted that a third-party candidate always hurts the party or candidate most closely aligned with him/her because of vote dilution? There IS one exception, and that’s with hard-core protest voters.

Take a county of 10,000 voters (4,000 D, 4,000 R, and 2,000 independents).

If the R’s want to “send a message” to Governor Daniels, and it’s a good year for Democrats (it is), a two-way election might have this result:

JLT - 6,000 (4,000 d + 1,000 I + 1,000 R)

Daniels - 3,000 (2,000 Rs, 1,000 I)

Some hardcore R’s (1,000) might not vote, but some “soft” R’s will cross the aisle to scratch for JLT.

BUT if there is a non-JLT option as an outlet, you might have this result:

JLT - 4,000 JLT (4,000 D)
Daniels - 3,000 (2,000 R, 1,000 I)
Waterman – 3,000 (2,000 R + 1,000 I)

The hardcore R’s and R-leaning independents can still cast their protest ballot, BUT they’re less likely to give it to JLT now. In other words, if the votes are already “lost” to Daniels, the second best option is to have an outlet to siphon off JLT votes.

But who am I kidding? Senator Waterman hasn’t gone this deep into this type of analysis, so, yeah, it’s just a tantrum.

Looking at the Waterman photo on Howey Politics reminds me of the faux presidential campaign slogan The Daily Show writers came up with for Chester Arthur:

“The policies we want. The muttonchops we need.” (scroll down to second story)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The first time I met Senator Waterman he was wearing a strip club tshirt from somewhere in Florida.

Yes, he identified himself as Sen. Waterman.